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Buying a Car in Sweden Posted by on Aug 31, 2009 in Culture

A few days ago one of the readers of this blog asked a question about car dealers in Sweden. He wanted to know whether they are as pushy and obnoxious as their American counterparts.

That’s a very good question, but I am not sure whether I am the right person to answer it. Why? I’m not a fan of car dealerships and I dislike them just on principle, be it in the US, Sweden or Brazil. It’s all the same to me.

My experience with car salesmen in Sweden is very limited. Though I tried to purchase a car from a dealer on four occasions, I always ended up buying from a private person. Why? The dealers seemed totally uninterested in selling me anything at all.

On all occasions, the experience was the same. Anna entered the dealership and tried to locate someone who would answer her questions. Anna had a list of questions ready already and knew exactly what kind of car she wanted. But nobody looked even vaguely interested in selling her a car. Any car.

I’m not sure why it was like that. Maybe I didn’t look like a serious buyer. Maybe the dealers thought it wouldn’t be worth their time and energy. Dunno.

The one time (the fifth occasion) when a car salesman actually talked to me, he tried to sell me a lemon. What sounded great over the phone turned out to be a total wreck in person. But the guy didn’t figure on me bringing along a friend who inspects cars for a living.

Every time I bought a car, I found it through the word of mouth. Of course, those were all used cars, because I didn’t really see a point of spending the money on a new one, if an older model would do the job just as well.

Buying a car in Sweden is a really straightforward process. There’s no need to change the tags, you (or the previous owner) just have to send in a change of ownership form and that’s pretty much it. After a few days you‘ll get a document in the mail confirming that you are the vehicle’s new legal owner. But don’t forget to insure the car! Every vehicle with a valid registration sticker MUST be insured. Otherwise you may end up paying hefty fines.

  • bilförsäkring – car insurance
  • bilhandlare, bilförsäljare – car dealer(ship)

Happy driving!

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  1. Isuru:

    Well we came to Sweden in last December and got a car in March. A friend helped us by coming with us to the dealers to check upon the cars. He’s had been using Volvos for a long time. (We knew we are going to buy a volvo and had a budget)

    Only 2 places tried to screw us by one place trying to sell a car with formerly rat infested engine area :-))) Well, the other place tried to sell us a car having a headlight with a small crack. Then I noticed that both the small wipers on the headlights are missing. They are supposed to be there in the original condition 🙂 So it was suspicious enough!

    Note that both theses sellers were not Volvo dealers. So most probably these were traded in stuff. It seemed they had not bothered to give the car a good look at least.. if you know what I mean!

    Finally I went for one from Rejmes who are volvo dealers and sells used cars too (most probably trade-in cars). The reason I went for a dealer is that they usually give you some warranty.. For this 2002 car I got 3 months (or some km). It was worth it… Had two small issues; got em corrected free of charge. This is impossible if you buy from a private owner AFAIK.

    Finally don’t forget to bargain. They keep a considerable margin. So if you got a budget, just tell what you can pay. If they are in a hurry they will come down drastically 🙂

    I hope stating the brand names are ok here. I am not a promoter for these guys but so far I am happy with their service!

  2. David:

    What about prutning?? If you buy a car from a dealer in Sweden, do you haggle over price? That’s the norm in the US, although that’s changing as more dealers are pricing their car at their “best price” from the beginning. How about with private parties? Are price negotiations expected, or is the asking price usually honored?

  3. Wes:

    I did not sweden had all new rules

  4. Daniël:

    Thank you very much for your post about cars.
    Can you please recommend some sites of buying/selling used cars in Sweden?

    I want to buy a Volvo in Sweden and I am not familiar with the Swedish secondhand cars websites.

    Thank you so much,


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  6. Mr. Insurance:

    Excellent article on the different types of auto insurance coverage and they are important. Your clear presentation is easy to understand and very well written. That’s the norm in the US, although that’s changing as more dealers are pricing their car at their “best price” from the beginning. How about with private parties? Any time you’d like to write and submit an article to my site, just let me know.

  7. Anant Mohan Verma:

    In the Sweden the car service is too good. The customer want very easy service so that feel good.

  8. Fox Car Rental:

    It is not expensive if you compare to the price of imported cars here. Tax is incredibly high. Car rentals here may own more luxurious cars as driven by market demand, you know. And I don’t see any need of subsidies from Gov. They better use the money for something else.

  9. nancy:

  10. Palm Springs Used Cars:

    It could be because Anna is a female. I read that Edmunds did a study where they had males and females enter a car dealership for testing purposes and the female potential clients were often ignored. Many salesmen assume women can’t afford to purchase a car, which I find offensive. Thus I negotiated for my car online before even walking into a showroom and to top it off, I paid in CASH. Not literally cash but a check.

  11. Keilah:

    So that’s the system in Sweden.. cool!

  12. Elisabeth Gehl:

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    Excellent blog post. I certainly love this website.


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